CONTEST: Write Your Clean Water Letter to the Editor
Write a 250-word Letter to the Editor Telling Why Your Favorite Wetland or Small Stream Deserves Protection under the Clean Water Act.
As many of you know, two Supreme Court decisions and bad policies from the Bush Administration have thrown the issue of Clean Water Act protections for certain creeks and wetlands into question. The Obama Administration is poised to release a guidance that attempts to answer that very critical question—which waterbodies are protected under the Clean Water Act—any day now.
We need your help to urge the Administration to release that guidance now, and to make the protections for our waters as strong as possible. The Administration needs to hear from us in the press—and letters to the editor are a great way to make ourselves heard. River Network is partnering with the great folks at the National Wildlife Federation to encourage you to speak up in your local newspapers.
Use the sample letter to the editor below (or your own ideas) and the provided state-specific information (found in this document and on NWF's handy website) to craft your own creative letter to the editor on the issue. Submit your letter to your local or state paper for publication. If you also want to enter the contest for best letter to the editor, send the text of your letter in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com before 1 p.m. pacific on Sunday, May 6.
Sample Letter to the Editor
(Add information from the attached document within the brackets below, or write your own letter using the attached data or your own stories.)
[Start with a wetland/stream story: For example, I cherish fishing and exploring along the (LOCAL WATER BODY), etc.…. As an avid angler/kayaker/birdwatcher, I understand how important these little streams are to the health of the (LOCAL River, Lake, Bay) downstream…. ]
[State/watershed specific figures re the importance of wetlands and/or intermittently flowing streams: For example: Over [XX %] of [State]’s stream miles do not flow year round, yet they provide critical drinking water supply, flood storage, and fish and wildlife habitat in the (LOCAL WATER) watershed.
In addition, these small streams/wetlands support a strong outdoor recreation economy. In 2006, XX million people participated in wildlife-related recreation in [State], spending [$X] billion annually.]
Sadly, for the last decade, Clean Water Act protections for these streams and wetlands have been eroding, leaving our prized fishing, swimming, and boating waters, and our drinking water at risk.
Thankfully, as the Clean Water Act turns 40 this year, this Administration is taking steps to restore Clean Water Act protections for these vital streams and wetlands. I wholeheartedly support this Administration’s actions to restore long-standing protections for millions of wetland acres and stream miles nationwide, and to help ensure clean and healthy waters for all Americans. The Administration is poised to take action to clarify the need to protect our waters under the Clean Water Act, and I encourage them to move quickly for clean, safe water.
TIPS for submitting a letter to the editor (LTE)
• Keep your letter under 250 words
• Submit your letter to one newspaper at a time, they like to have exclusive rights to it.
• Make it original and localized. Editors won’t like a cut and paste.
• Give your full contact information as they will probably follow up to confirm you are in fact are the author
• Localize as much as you can by mentioning a local story, special place, loved one who benefits etc
Winners will be announced via web and social media outlets during River Rally on Monday, May 7, 2012. River Rally is taking place at the Doubletree Lloyd Center, 1000 NE Multnomah, Portland, OR 97232.
First Prize: $100
Second Prize: Cozy National Wildlife Federation Fleece Jacket
Third Prize: Fabulous “I love River Rally” water bottle
Basic contest rules
For full rules, please see the contest flyer
Contest Rules and Details:
• Only one submission per person.
• Letter must be 250 words or less.
• By entering the contest, you are affirming your commitment to submit your LTE to your local paper with-in two weeks after River Rally.
• Letters must be delivered (hand delivered or emailed) to George Sorvalis firstname.lastname@example.org before 1 p.m. Pacific Time, Sunday May 6, 2012. No other method of entry will be accepted.
• A winner will be chosen by a committee consisting of staff from River Network, National Wildlife Federation and Water Protection Network (“the Companies”).
• Winners will be announced via web and social media outlets during River Rally on Monday, May 7, 2012. River Rally is taking place at the Doubletree Lloyd Center, 1000 NE Multnomah, Portland, OR 97232.
ELIGIBILITY: OFFERED ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES (“U.S.”) VOID IN PUERTO RICO AND WHERE PROHIBITED. Employees, officers and directors of the Companies and the immediate family members (spouses and parents, children and siblings and their spouses, regardless of where they live) or members of the same households (whether related or not) of such employees, officers and directors are not eligible. The Companies reserve the right to verify, in their sole judgment, winner eligibility. This Contest is governed by the laws of the United States. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. By entering you agree to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Companies, which are final and binding in all respects.
The Companies assume no responsibility for lost, late, misdirected, illegible or mutilated entries or for any computer, online, telephone, cable, network, electronic or Internet hardware or software malfunctions, failures, connections, availability, garbled or jumbled transmissions, service provider, Internet, web site, or other accessibility or availability issues, traffic congestion, or unauthorized human intervention, or any technical malfunctions that may occur. Entrants shall be the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain name associated with the submitted email address.
DEADLINE: The final date for submitting the writing is Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 1 p.m. Pacific Time.
OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.
1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images
Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
- Climate Crisis: What We Can Learn From Indigenous Traditions ... ›
- 10 Organizations Honoring Native People on Thanksgiving ... ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.